The Lidl Prosecco giveaway, and why we need Minimum Unit Pricing for booze


Yesterday people queued for hours outside branches of discount supermarket Lidl, all for a six-pack of cheap Prosecco.

If you were one of the lucky first 20 or so in the queue, you’d be able to get a six pack of an already cheap Prosecco for just £20. This is pretty much the cost of the [...]

Nine BA lounge whites, a bit of a mixed bunch, but some surprises

There are quite a few bottles open in the BA lounge (I’m off travelling again…), so I did a tasting. I’m following the example of one of my wine heroes, Oz Clarke. Whenever he’s in an airport, or on a plane, he makes a point of trying all the wines. I admire his dedication, and [...]

Winemaking ideologies, my contribution to the Texsom debate

Yesterday at Texsom I took part in a discussion on winemaking ideologies, with a very good panel. Each of us was asked to prepare something to say, so I wrote something. When it actually came to it, I didn’t cover all this ground, but I thought I’d share it, anyway.

Market segmentation is important here. For [...]

Texsom: exploring the wines of Mexico

Serafin Alvarado and Wayne Belding presented this seminar on Mexican wines, a subject I’ve virtually no experience of.

Mexico isn’t an obvious place to grow high quality wine grapes: it’s a warm country at a latitude of 30 degrees north. There’s very little wine grown at these latitudes in the northern hemisphere, but the key thing [...]

At a festival, without very much wine

A week ago, my friend Mel Brown messaged me to see if I wanted to go to a festival the following weekend. I was free, so I said yes. I had no idea what to expect. The festival in question was Noisily, held in the woods in Leicestershire. It’s all electronic dance music.

Rufus and [...]

Some BA lounge wines: what does business class get you these days?

Just did a bit of British Airways lounge wine sampling (BA Galleries lounge at terminal 3). These are wines available in business class. How good are they? The answer: not bad, but not very exciting. Unfortunately, like many airlines, I suspect BA have very little budget to spend on wine, and this selection shows it. [...]

Rui Falcao on Madeira, at MUST 2017

Rui Falcao’s presentation at MUST was on Madeira. He began by showing a picture of a bottle of Madeira from 1795, and revealed that most of his great old wine experiences have been with wines from this remarkable island. ‘The oldest wine I’ve had was from 1715,’ he says, which he thinks is the oldest [...]

Lulie Halstead on Millennials and the wine market, at MUST 2017

Lulie Halstead of Wine Intelligence gave an interesting talk on Millennials, and whether or not we make too much of them in marketing discussions. ‘It’s a topic we often get asked to speak about,’ she said. Millennials are people born between 1981 and 1995, which means that they are currently 21-35 years old. The previous [...]

Felicity Carter on the importance of wine tourism, at MUST

Continuing with the MUST fermenting ideas summit, I was impressed by Felicity Carter’s talk on the importance of wine tourism.

‘Journalists love catastrophes of all kinds,’ began Felicity, before outlining why she thinks the wine industry could be facing catastrophe if it doesn’t embrace wine tourism.

‘I’m going to start off with the worst wine tour in [...]

Binary thinking and bubble creation

It’s getting worse, I reckon. The world is being polarised. It upsets me when otherwise smart friends fall into the trap of seeing the world in binary terms. Good versus evil. Black versus white.

The problem is the way we access information on the internet. It’s pull rather than push: we choose what to read, watch [...]